Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Hampshire / Boston

Back to our trip. We said good bye to New York for a spell and had a great little train ride up to Boston. It was quite beautiful country, but quite built up in places. We were met at South Station and driven up into the beautiful New Hampshire countryside by one of my mother-in-law's school friends, and it was a nice change for us to have a tour guide taking us around there home. We had a good drive along the NH coastline, and one of the old settlements.

Harvard & MIT
MIT, from the Prudential Center.
On our last day with Ag & Paul, we went and explored Harvard, which was busy preparing for graduations. Paul showed us around Harvard (and as he is an Alum, we were able to go into the main library, and saw one of the first Gutenberg Bibles which was quite a treat). After that we walked around MIT, which has one of the more interesting buildings you will see. We also enjoyed having a walk around their Museum just before it closed.  Boston has a large number of Universities, and many of them had graduations while we were there. 

Another couple of random experiences we had, was going to the studio Click & Clack (a car radio show) is broadcast from at Cambridge and having a photo with Barack Obama (at least a cardboard cutout). We also had lunch in a Pizza restaurant in Portsmouth which has drawings from its guests in their menus. So, if you do go Portsmouth, and see a drawing from a Sydney-sider - that may be me.

We really loved Boston, it is just a beautiful city. Walking through the city, you walk through the history of America. Very different to New York, with all of its tall skyscrapers. Boston has so many smaller red brick buildings. We walked the freedom trail while we were there, learnt that the American's didn't win their independence because of their superior tactics, or because the British Soldiers wore Red Coats.  We walked past the balcony where MLK gave one of his key speeches and the balcony where the American Declaration of Independence was read out. Apparently Ho Chi Minh worked in one of Boston's hotels; wonder how different history would have been if he had stayed there.  We had an retired history teacher as a guide, which made me pause to think about what my next career could be.

Fenway Park
The other highlight was a visit to Fenway Park. While I couldn't do a tour (all booked out), it was worth walking around the ball-park. The slight error we made in planning the trip is that while we were in New York, the Yankees (and Mets) weren't, while we were in Boston, the Red Sox weren't, and yes, you guessed it, the Blue Jay's were in New York while we were in Toronto. 

One of the other tours you can do in Boston is in an old WWII amphibious landing vehicle, which travels on the road & on the river. The guide was seeking to bring the sixties back and filled his talk with dry humour. The brochure we got from Duck Tours is a hoot, they have an excellent range of guides all with really distinctive (quirky) personalities. 

Prudential Center
During our stay in Boston we went up the Prudential Center, which is the tallest building in Boston, which gave us opportunities to see the distinctive buildings from above, and it was also a great way to see the layout of the city. Boston is a strikingly beautiful town. The photo's of the city in this post, were taken from this building.


"I am innocent, I am wronged"
Salem Witch Trial Memorial
Salem Witch Museum
We finished our time in Boston by taking the train up to Salem. The town originally one of the key ports of the state, but made (in)famous through the Witch Trials of 1692 (and in a few episodes of Bewitched I hear).  Really enjoyed our visit to the Salem Witch Museum. There are not too may papers from the trials so the "exhibits" are an audio account of the trial, and then a guide speaks about the history of witches since then. Making the point that witches are misunderstood. Additionally making the link between fear leading the scapegoating. A really worthwhile museum. The staff of the museum are planning to put on The Crucible later this year, which reminded me I definitely need to see it.

After Boston, we headed up to Toronto, but more about that later.

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